|Here are the previous journal entries from my home page
Read the previous archive.
Last week we put out beta version 2. It has all the bells and whistles of the final product. Lookin' good. The real web site graphics will be in place next month. Check it out at www.clango.com [site no longer available].
Quite an adventure to the antique's road show in Sacto. Read all about it.
Filoli also put on a concert for all the volunteers; I got to attend as a hanger-on. What a great time. The people were so nice, the weather perfect. I didn't know that we could swim in the pool or I would have brought a suit. I don't get many chances to swim in a famous house. If you haven't been, you need to go.
Charlie Daniels Band (CDW to fans) was up at Paul Mason this month and we got to go. They did a fantastic show. Lots of old tunes, some new ones, and one of those magically clear nights that we sometimes get here. From the deck we could see all the way across the bay. I could almost imagine seeing the Bay Bridge.
Last weekend the Englehorn family reunion met in Asilomar. We had 30 people from here and there show up for a weekend of chatting and tours. Our connection comes from a set of brothers who emigrated to Iowa in the 1850's. Some stayed there, some moved West. I always meet some new and interesting relatives. This time I was happy enough to volunteer to co-host the 2002 event in North Dakota. Anyone know good places to meet in ND?
Last week we got into one of the final Teatro Zinzanni shows in SF. What a time! The dinner and show takes place in an old Parisian party tent. One that you might see in a Dega or Manet. Mostly red, darkly lit, mirrors around the perimeter. Tables in the middle, booths around the side. A contingent of actors are dressed as waiters and busboys and officious others. At times they are literally running around the aisles. Mostly they are staging small dramas here and there that revolve around their particular character. A small stage hosted a few vaudeville acts and a clearing at the very center served to showcase some fantastic juggling and acrobatics. The dinner was very good. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening event.
Lastly, we spend this weekend in Santa Barbara. Angela's friend Elaine was married in a beautiful old church to a very nice guy named Cy. They're heading to Lompoc and wedded bliss. We also went to another Elaine's 40th wedding anniversary party on the beach. Chris and Elaine befriended Angela in her SB days. It was an excellent time on the beach, in the sun, talking and eating. We rounded off the trip with a stop to see Bob and Katie's new digs in Santa Margarita. That place is really no-where. A nice place to live.
Next weekend is college reunion time. When will we rest?
The adventure continues. We are so close to releasing our first product to alpha test that I can taste it. So much labor has gone into the database, the client, the server code. It works every time on our private LAN and now we're seeing it work over the internet. Tons of demos are under our belt; each one has gone well, but I still hold my breath each time I click the "go" button in front of someone new. We have really built a master piece here. Only time will tell, but I have the good feeling that comes with a job well done - honest labor. There have been a hiccup or two, as expected. I'm proud of the fact that each time we've been able to find a way to correct the problem without a fundamental change to the application architecture. There have even been a few opportunities that we've been able to take advantage of - again, because we've built a beast from small, contained objects. It is a thing of beauty.
Living large has been good too. Angela got us tickets to Filoli concerts this summer. What a treat! The setting is intimate and fun. We saw the Filoli repertory jazz band with ClairDee. Both were exceptional. I have to call Filoli the top concert venue in the Bay Area, inching ahead of Montalvo - my previous favorite.
Last night Montalvo put on a fantastic show with Chris Isaak. WOW! The group gives an excellent performance. Good music, lots of energy, a few jokes, and a crowd on their feet. I could see Chris several times a year, he's that good. My own faux paux was thinking that we had seats in row GA instead of General Admission. We only barely got six seats together on the lawn. Where was my head?
Charlie and Michelle put on quite a spread at their BBQ. Beautiful house in Los Altos Hills, overlooking the flooded quarry (excellent catch and release bass fishing I'm told... shhhh, it's a secret). We dined on great ribs and spent the afternoon in a karaoke marathon. I did get up for House of the Rising Sun; Angela wouldn't get near the mic.
Hopefully we release the product tomorrow...
Another month into the new company and we're still going well. The prototype works day in - day out. Whew! That makes me feel great. I wish I could say more here, but I can't. There have been a few long nights and many early mornings. Sometimes I wake up with a smile on my face, thinking about all the things to do at work. I just can't wait to get at it.
Karl got tickets to Joe Zawinul Syndicate at the Palace of Fine Arts in SF. That was a gas. In all my years here I'd never been to the Palace for anything but the Exploratorium. This was a treat. Hot tip: Keeley Smith will be playing at Bimbo's 365 in June - hope we can make it.
The Belmont Art and Wine festival suffered from poor weather, but was still an eye opener. I'd never been to their downtown river park. What a fantastic walk through trees and undergrowth. The booths were spread out along the trails making for a wonderful outing in addition to the party. We also visited the artists in residence house. A nice building with 10 studios rented to local artists. It was fun to peek in on them, but I felt trapped when one nice woman blocked the way out while mentioning how reasonably priced her work was. Nice stuff but I wasn't buying and she was standing in my way. It's hard to make a living as an artist.
Memorial Day was spent at Coulter's Little Basin with the gang. William and Ben are getting large and very intelligent. They ran around the decking and barked with the dogs. It's fun to watch them grow so straight and tall. The weather was just beautiful. Warm mornings and cool evenings.
The movie shoot went very well. I met at the on location headquarters of Cybracerro 2000 in Sunnyvale (these scenes shot at a home also known as the Post House). The car my character was supposed to drive didn't show so at 8am on the President's Day holiday one of the principals was walking the neighborhood looking for the right replacement car to borrow. In addition the owner of the home where we were going to shoot exterior scenes gave birth the night before so they didn't want us banging around in the driveway... looked like everything was going wrong. At least the cast was there: me playing Hampton and another guy playing Arman. After going door to door and doing some fast talking we found another acceptable house just down the street. We were setting up when around the corner comes a beat up 1970 station wagon being driven by Greg! He managed to talk some stranger into loaning us his car for the day. Unbelievable.
For my part, I was impressed with the professionalism and attention to detail of the director and film crew. We shot every little piece of every scene from several different angles. Each time we had to get it just right, twice! My shots were scattered throughout the day and I didn't leave the set until midnight. Angela even got into the act as puppeteer of both the robot rolling down the hall, and of an angry washing machine that my character interacted with. I had a lot of face time with the camera and Alex seemed pleased with my work so I hope I make it past the editing booth. Hats off to Christina and Allejandro too. If they keep up this intensity it will be an excellent flick.
Cirque du Soliel was in town and we managed to get there twice. Great shows both times. Seeing it a second time us pick up more of what was happening instead of just being in a continuous state of awe. We could watch the performers in black slipping up and down the catwalks while attention was diverted elsewhere. A great show to see for sure.
The Spring bonfire at the Mendo road house went fantastic. The regular gang was there and they all brought friends. In the end we served dinner to some 16 people. Ray's finished the interior pretty much and we spend the day cleaning up all the dust from the sanding of the trip. It looks fantastic. All we need now is indoor plumbing.
We had a bang up time at work. Put in four more cubicles, worked on the acquisition of some key technology and . . . we made the first roundtrip pass through all the production code!!! BIG BIG STEP for us. Now we can work on performance and reliability, but we've proved to ourselves that all the pieces are in place to make it work. Whew, we've been working hard on this.
Angela's been doing volunteer work at the Filoli estate in Woodside. She trained as a docent and yesterday she did her first solo gig as a tour guide - she did great. The house and grounds are really something to see. Absolutely beautiful gardens, maintained by a cadre of volunteer gardeners. The house has been restored. It's been used in several films and you can see it in Heaven Can Wait.
Yesterday I was out with Jay from Cisco and a group from Network Objects doing a Christmas in April event in Daly City. This was a good project. We painted and cleaned and generally got the house way ahead. The owners daughter, son in law, and grandkids were there to help too. They were so surprised with how it was going that they said they'll volunteer next year in Sacramento.
Then we rounded out the day having dinner with the Schweickhardts. They were in town just for a few days, but we managed to snag them for a BBQ on the deck and had some old friends over from the early days. Roger and Darlene had called just days before so I invited them too - hadn't seen them in five years I think. Reynold and Lori are doing well in D.C. We need to get out there to visit them.
ps Ask me about the Oxford - Cambridge boat races!
Howdy to all! My, my, my -- I've been a busy guy. Since the last check-in here we've started a company, hired engineers, and took a few vacations.
Thanksgiving day was fun with the folks, then we took off for Coulter's Little Basin in Twain Harte. What a great place. Running water, indoor plumbing, and five bedrooms. A little bit of luxury in the mountains. Showing up on Friday we found the gang still bloated from the holiday feast and laying around with their shoes off. We were planning to hit the store for some foodstuffs but found there was enough holiday repast left to last us all through the weekend. Someone made the mistake of calculating the cumulative sticks of butter embedded in the refrigerator dishes - don't ask. Margaret accepted a bet to go neck deep in the frigid lake water. We watched her shudder her way in, sing the Star Spangled Banner and come out to collect the dough. It cost us each $5, but was worth it.
Just after that we get word that we're funded!!! A private investor in Florida put up most of the money. He liked the business plan and promised to have the money in the bank in mid-December. Yahoooo. Vance starts looking for office space, a business license, finalizing the subscription agreement, and a million other things. I'm spending time recruiting engineers and documenting all the design work done to date. It's good to know the money's coming, but no one will quit their current job until we have money in the bank.
Christmas this year was in Pacifica and Saratoga. All the boys and wives were in town so we had a crowd. Everyone is in good health and looking chipper. I whipped up a couple of cheese cakes from an excellent recipe. They were heavy and rich - one undercooked and one overcooked. I just don't cook them enough to know.
After Xmas vacations were over we closed on an office in Los Gatos - big relief - and our first engineer said "yes" - an even bigger relief! With money in the bank we're able to order equipment, get our network up, and all the other things needed to make a real business work. On the R&D side, engineers in the pipeline mean we can start talking design among ourselves instead of me doing it by myself in a vacuum. This is a huge improvement. Our second engineer also gave notice, so now it's just a matter of time until we have our business on the road to success.
Paul's place in Palm Springs was a surprise. One day he sent out an email saying, "I bought a house last weekend." We all managed to get down there on the day he took possession of the place - just in time for Super Sunday. He's going to make it a long term rental, so he has no furniture. We showed up with blankets and sleeping bags. His house is in an estate with three swimming pools and nicely manicured lawns. A very sweet place. This was my first Palm Springs trip. In the middle of winter it's great. Good food, nice shops, and a warm, even balmy, 80 degrees. I wonder what it's going to be like in the middle of a normal 120 degree summer? Ouch. Paul catered a BBQ bonanza for Sunday and we again ate until we couldn't stand up. Then on Monday the rest of the gang ran around town while Angela and I went to The Palms spa. We were up at 6:30 to be there in time for the 7:30 "brisk 3-mile walk". A nice, small, breakfast was refreshing. Then a stretch class, followed by water aerobics. A "broth break" was all you can eat pureed vegetable soup - for the potassium they say. Then a water body toning class and lunch. Lunch was surprisingly tasty. Hot seafood salad, green salad, vegetables, homemade full grain bun, and a cookie. Pretty good for a 1000-calorie a day diet. The afternoon was another water aerobics class, an aggressive exercise class with a big ball, and an hour of yoga. Whew. Fun, but I was exhausted.
Susan was in town for the big SF HIV conference. Curt came with her for his first trip in the States. That was occasion for a big dinner party at Angela's. A whole bunch of Susan's friends came over. We must have had 30 people in house for various chicken and Indian dishes. Curt's a chemist and I took advantage of his good nature to refine my peppermint candy experiments. He gave me lots of interesting insight. I'd given up on being able to control all the variables needed, but my discussion with Curt gave me new hope. Maybe I'll be able to publish my Polka Gris recipe this year. (Finger's crossed.)
Last week we saw the Capacitor dance group in SF. They put on one excellent show. My advice? Don't stick your head in the box. While there we met Greg and Chistina who are doing a small independent film - Cybracerro. They asked me to take a small part - 8 lines total - and my hammy side took over. The shoot is Monday in Sunnyvale. We'll see if my performance survives the cutting room...